In the UK – certainly at a growing number of universities there – theses are automatically put on the web as part of open access repositories anyway.
Johannes Wilm [Visitor]
Yes, that may happen several places. But those are not really accessible to non-academic readers. Also they put out the thesis in its original format, which is not really readable. If you self-publish you cut away all the academicized blabla, and add the explanations the “normal” person needs in order to understand it. You then give the whole thing an attractive physical form, and publish that.
Thanks a lot to both of you for all this.
Maximilian C. Forte [Visitor]
Very interesting post, and I also want to thank you both for producing this.
Coincidentally, I have also self-published, and I publish student research via a publishing company that I set up–Alert Press.
However I have to say that my views on a number of points diverge from Johannes, on various fronts, including the technical production side, the question of self-publishing in academia, and on the question of peer-review. Otherwise, I agree with Johannes pretty well on 90% of what he says, and found some of his suggestions useful for my own work.
–CIP seems to be very distinct in the U.S.–there are no such restrictions in Canada.
–ISBN: You can become your own ISBN provider, at least in Canada, especially if you are a publisher.
–COSTS: No, these can instead be quite high, because it is still expected that a professional piece of work contain an Index, and to have that done properly you can either spend inordinate amounts of time and frustration doing it yourself, or like me, you hire an indexer…at $1,000 to circa $1,300 US each time.
–SELF-PUBLISHING: in some Canadian universities, but likely not the top tier ones, there is some reluctant acceptance of self-published work on one’s CV, but if most of your work is self-published, it will neither get you hired, nor promoted and tenured. The tenure process in the U.S. is absolute torture in terms of its demands, so you want to be careful about what you advise to those planning an academic career.
–PEER-REVIEW: In Johannes’ case, I don’t think one can argue his PhD was not peer reviewed by some definitions–of course it was, it was reviewed by supervisors, commented on by fellow students, the whole process of getting a dissertation to pass in other words. Subsequently, without that process, one can look like one is trying to evade critique and rushing to get in print. I don’t see why open access, and self-publishing, must necessarily come without some form of peer review. Again, however, I agree with Johannes’ comments on reviews by presses, but I have to say that I always found the review process to be very helpful. It’s free advice–hard to get.
I could go on…and on, and on…let me stop here and thank you both once again. Sorry for any typos, writing in haste.
Johannes Wilm [Visitor]
Some comments on the last post:
–ISBN: Yes, these come for free in many European countries if you register as your own publisher, whereas in the US they cost money even then. From your statement it seems the same is the case in Canada. Also when you are a publisher, the ISBN-agency will assign an ISBN-block to you, so you cannot create these out of thin air for yourself. I really think we are saying the same thing just with different words.
– Indexing Costs: If you use a professional system, such as the LyX editor (editing LaTeX sources) I described above, it’s not that hard. I think I spent about a week on indexing the entire thing and some of the indexing really only I or someone very familiar with the subject matter could do. For example, several people with very similar names appear, some of which are famous and others who are not. An indexer would likely have stuffed all of them together. I am not sure how one would go about doing it when using Libreoffice or some other word processor.
– Getting you hired: Well, it is my understanding that for the great majority of us, tenure and all that is an illusion anyway. Some may get to the post-doc stage, whereas many probably won’t even reach that. You make a point that if you try for one of those, you likely need formal peer-review. But watch out, because many/most publishers today do not offer this either. At this stage my book wouldn’t make it, because I’ve exchanged all the academic language with language that non-academics can understand. That seemed more important to me. I will have spent 4 years of my life on this – a measurable percentage even if I die at age 100 – and am not just going to throw it all away or make it unnecessarily inaccessible just to get a shot at a position that is not really an option anyways.
You mention conventions about top-tier universities, etc. . I would look at it from the other side: If a university only employs staff that has written things that is inaccessible to the general public, how well would one think these people can teach to students who generally enter the classroom the first time without more knowledge than the general population? Do these really deserve to be called top-tier universities?
Higher education is set to be the next bubble already. PhDs get produced in great numbers that cannot be employed afterward and student loans are given out that cannot be paid back. The whole model is heading for collapse. I wouldn’t bet my horses on that.
– Self-made peer review: If one just needs to prove peer-review of some kind (not approved by any agency or alike) of the double-blind type or simply by having a knowledgeable review board doing it, the trick would be to go together as a group of PhD- and master-students (master students are probably more relevant in those parts of the world where master degrees include original research) to register a publishing company collectively and then to provide peer-review for one-another. In all of these cases professors will have looked at and commented on the text already, so it would mostly be about making it accessible to non-academics. The Between and Betwixt journal at the University of Oslo works a bit like that, except that at least in my time there, everybody just wrote one article which was put together in a type of book that no-one would read and that most article writers were very reluctant having spread too much around. And it was all about keeping the language as inaccessible as possible. That way people could put on their CV that they had published in this journal without having to fear that anyone would actually look at it.
Johannes Wilm [Visitor]
btw, I found Alert Press a while back, around the time when I decided to go ahead with this project. It was the only such thing I could find anywhere, so it seems that the number of publishers of this kind is very limited.
Lulu traditionally did not work with non-US ISBN numbers, which is why this wasn’t an option for a long time. Lulu and Lightningsource only print in Europe and the US, whereas Createspace only prints in the US. Createspace and Lulu can be used without upstart costs, whereas Lightningsource is only available to those who have their own publishing company and can only be used if one purchases the distribution services at the costs mentioned in the article.
The reason one should look at Lightningsource though is that Lightningsource and Createspace offer books at significantly lower printing costs than Lulu (about 50% last time I checked). If one is based in the Americas I would recommend uploading the book to Createspace and order proof copies from there until one is certain that it’s good. Then one can switch to Lightningsource. If one is based in Europe, I would use Lulu for all the proof copies until one is completely certain that it’s fine.
In my case I sent some proof copies to people in the US, Europe and Nicaragua to get final comments from different people and in the case of Nicaragua, to give informants an opportunity to revise their own statements and tell me if I should remove something due to security concerns. it was very easy to set this up on Createspace/Lulu at costs that were lower than if I had printed the manuscript out and mailed myself.
Maximilian C. Forte [Visitor]
Many thanks Johannes. First for recommending two resources with which I was unfamiliar, Lightningsource and Createspace. Also, for the important commentary on tenure, the production of academic jobs, and the many ideas concerning new modes of publishing. I think all of that is very important and I hope you get to disseminate and elaborate on it further. I take your comments on top tier universities very well!
Thanky for sharing all that information which indeed gave gave me some more ideas on what to look out for when comapring self-publishing houses - it did help me a lot to take a decision where to publish my thesis.I like the setup they have over at Grin. (http://www.grin.com/en)
The nice thing about GRIN is that it allows you to reach people who might not otherwise hear about your work and allow them to order it with the ISBN.
I say go for it, of only to see your name associated with an ISBN. And I’ve compared quite some contracts of these publishing houses. With them I couldn’t find any strings attached.
I am surprised about the publication of Dissertations and thesis into e-books. My question is that
1) Students will publish the research work in Journals as part their thesis work, and finally thesis will be submitted to university for academic degree and it will be property of University, as we submit the copy right to both Journal and university.
In such case, is it possible to publish again the thesis/desseration as e-book?
Johannes Wilm [Visitor]
If your university takes over the copyright for the thesis and leaves you as the student with no right to your own work, it is of course not legal to publish it somewhere else later. However, if this is really how your university operates, I would suggest for you to find a new university. That is certainly not the standard way for a university to operate. I have never heard about it before. What exactly do you mean with “we submit the copy right to both Journal and university". If you give up your own copyright, you can only give it to one of the two, not both of them. If you give it to the journal, you cannot subsequently hand it in as a thesis (it is no longer yours).
Hi, where do we stand on copy right of images, figures and text in the thesis. I am tempted to add my thesis to my website as a downloadable ebook which I will charge for. I’m not planning to seek permission from the multitude of sources in my references as it seems like a painful exercise. Is it enough to have robust referencing to be covered copyright wise ?
Hi, I am no expert so please check other sources, but generally, for academic texts, it might be enough to reference the sources properly (”fair use“) (although it is nice to ask first). But this does not apply to your case since you are going to charge for your ebook. So you have no other choice than contacting all the copyright owners of your images and figures and ask for permission and pay the apropriate fees. If not they might sue you. Good luck
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